Wednesday 1 June 2016

The Big Five-Oh oh oh oh

It's been a year of milestones for me.

First, I turned the big Five-Oh.

Second, I reached a million books sold.

Third, I reached 10 years as a 'professional' writer.

Fourth, Prince of Thorns reached 50,000 ratings on Goodreads (I made blog posts for the 30,000 and 40,000 milestones).

Fifth, tomorrow my second trilogy concludes with The Wheel of Osheim hitting the UK shelves.

& sixth, this summer will mark the fifth anniversary of Prince of Thorns' release.

I probably should write a post that stirs the political wings of the genre into a froth and has them generating free publicity for me ... but ... I can't be bothered.

I could return to the well of 'grimdark' again ... but people's outrage over the (imagined) content seems to have worn out and even the term itself seems to have lost its power to cause argument. We might not be able to define it but, as with pornography, people are convinced that they know it when they see it.

What's a blogger to do?

I could write some take down of modern fantasy, bemoaning its failings and championing some 'fresh' approach. But I don't read enough books to have a decent oversight, and a lot of the fantasy I do read seems excellent to me.

So, no stirring from me, no opinion pieces. I'm just very surprised and rather happy to be in a position of such good fortune with my writing. It's great to be able to write stories and have them enthusiastically received by an intelligent and appreciative audience. It's great to hold the books and know they're mine.

As a kid when I read my favorite fantasy novels I never imagined I would write a book let alone have six out, occupying space on so many shelves across the world. There's a tendency to idolize those who came before, but the truth must be that they were much the same as the current generation, considering themselves lucky impostors who couldn't really hold a candle to the generation they grew up reading.

Seeing my work in bookshops, on library shelves, in people's homes has never made me do the happy-dance of triumph that many writers assure me will occur when they land their book deal. It does, however, give me a low-key but deep and enduring sense of satisfaction that I draw on when other parts of my life grow stressful (an inevitability for the father of a very disabled child). For that I am very grateful.

And that's all I have to say for the big five-oh-oh-oh-oh.


  1. Congratulations. You should be proud of what you have achieved. And most of all, you should be proud of all the hours of entertainment that you have provided to tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands probably) of people around the world.
    Wonkish comment: at an average of perhaps 5 hours of reading for every book, it would be more than 5 millions hours of fun. Nearly 600 years.

  2. Congrats! Thanks for all the hours of pure enjoyment you have given me and many others. Can't wait to read what you come up with next!

  3. Congratulations and belated happy birthday :)
    You deserve all good things going your way because you're a great guy - and amazing writer!
    Thanks for everything x

  4. Keith Russell Dulak4 June 2016 at 21:52

    Posts like this are why you. are. awesome. I just skimmed a review of TWoO,all the normal high praise. One thing did stand out. The reviewer(pats) commented that (in so many words) now you're at the top of the list of fantasy authors. I do agree, but I've felt that way for years. I'm glad I stepped into your worlds and words. Keep up the shizz.

  5. Congratulations Mark, 50 is the 30 right, right because I just turned 62 which really makes me 42 :)
    Congrats on the wonderful body(s) of work you've produced you've kept my rapt attention through each and every book. I thank the stars everyday when my editor asked me to early review a "upcoming must read by an exciting new author" and when Prince of Thorns ended up on my desk I had to agree. Keep em coming "old man" brwahahah